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Hualien gravel industry calls for dredging of local rivers

Hualien gravel industry calls for dredging of local rivers

Taipei, March 11 (CNA) The Hualien Gravel Industry Association called Wednesday for a rapid dredge of the county's rivers to help prevent flooding and to allow local gravel companies to continue their operations.
The association made the suggestion in the hope that the central and local governments would give some attention to the issue and help provide job opportunities for workers in the gravel-mining industry.
Citing a government report, the association said local gravel companies are allowed to remove only 60 percent annually of the approximately 5.84 million cubic meters of gravel that accumulates each year in the rivers in Hualien County, eastern Taiwan.
The association argued that the restriction should be eased, as the pile-up of gravel in Hualien County rivers is serious, adding that it has photos to prove its claim. The volume of gravel deposits in local riverbeds has reached around 146.85 million cubic meters, it added.
In this type of situation, the riverbeds usually rise to above ground level, which poses a danger of flooding, especially during the summer typhoon season when silt from landslides also pile up in riverbeds, it warned.
It was the second time that the Hualien Gravel Industry Association called for government assistance to help offset the difficulties it is facing.
The association said Tuesday that it is facing a historical crisis due to the global economic slump and a domestic quota system, and it asked the government to ease the restrictions that are hamstringing its business.
According to the association, 80 percent of its 60 members in Hualien County have had to send workers on unpaid leave, while 70 percent have been in operation for only 10 days over the past three months.
It urged the relevant authorities to allow Hualien businesses to mine more gravel to meet market demand, especially in northern and western Taiwan, by relaxing the quota control.
Prior to 2004, Hualien was exporting between 1.1 million and 1.3 million metric tons of gravel per month, and at least 11.2 million metric tons a year, it said.
Also some 60 percent of the gravel used in the greater Taipei area was traditionally supplied from Hualien, with 20 percent from China and the remaining 20 percent mined locally. But since 2007, when strict caps on gravel exploitation in Hualien were imposed and the volume of imported gravel from China began to increase, the domestic industry has fallen on hard times, said the association.
It has suffered a fresh blow from the global financial crisis, which has resulted in Hualien County supplying only 5 percent to 10 percent of the demand for gravel in the greater Taipei area, the association said.
(By Flor Wang)




Updated : 2021-06-15 12:24 GMT+08:00